Toronto The Well | 174.03m | 46s | RioCan | Hariri Pontarini

Yeah, that video is ridiculous. He keeps referring to the idea of an outdoor mall in "Canada" as a bad idea, yet Toronto is further south than I think it's 27 of the 50 states? Because Toronto happens to be in a country with Nunavut or Edmonton, lumps the city in to make the idea of an 'outdoor mall' as a ridiculous one, when it really isn't. Toronto winters are mild.
Tbh, I wouldn't be surprised if a majority of Americans think it snows most of the year everywhere in Canada. Their education system... does not exactly care about anything beyond their borders.

You'd hope the internet has improved things (but i doubt it), but there is a reason Rick Mercer's "Talking to Americans" worked so well when it came out a couple decades ago. They knew so little about Canada they truly believed we had no access to the oceans, or that our government was held in the "National Igloo".
For those of you old enough to remember the original Don Mills Shopping Centre, before it was covered and eventual demolished, outdoor shopping was never a hardship in our winters.

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Toronto is further south than I think it's 27 of the 50 states?
Closer to 14 I would think.

For those of you old enough to remember the original Don Mills Shopping Centre, before it was covered and eventual demolished, outdoor shopping was never a hardship in our winters.
Why did they cover it?
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Anyways, if this guy wants indoor shopping streets, he can go down to the Path and have it to his heart's content. Of course, that's not exactly a really lively/atmospheric place either, despite the hordes of people Tuesday through Thursday.
Closer to 14 I would think.

Why did they cover it?
Closer to 14 I would think.

Why did they cover it?
Increased competition from other enclosed shopping malls like Fairview in the mid 70's. It didn't help because once Eaton's closed, the mall didn't have a main tenant and the mall was closed, demolished and replaced with what's there today; an outdoor shopping area.
To play devil's advocate, I can see that it might be nice if the atrium was essentially enclosed but not necessarily heated. The waste heat from neighbouring buildings and greenhouse effect heating would raise the temp by a few degrees in the winter. In summer you could open large vents to keep the temperature closer to ambient
I was in there on Wednesday morning with the kid. It has enough shelter that it probably would never be uncomfortably cold (there was a cutting wind on Wednesday, but you couldn't feel it at all in there). But there was no way it was a comfortable temperature to sit and eat something.
It's a curious series of takes, both optimistic and pessimistic.

There's this:


After which, Alex suggests the connection is less than obvious

He then offers " There is an uncanny-valley quality here; the buildings feel like a reproduction of some non-specific cityscape."

He also notes the similarity to a development in Belfast, Ireland.


From there Alex moves on to his traditional lament, that Toronto must spend 365 days a year in darkness, completely free of trees and flowers, and with everyone suffering anemia and vitamin D deficiency due to lack of sun:

"Three lambent, finely proportioned glass boxes by architectsAlliance line Front Street, while three brick-clad midrises along Wellington Street are by Wallman Architects. (The latter are the real clunkers in this ensemble. Their poorly composed facades step down like Mayan temples, following Toronto city planning’s directives, to avoid shading the nearby street.)"

He then, amusing applauds the CCxA design for Wellington, which would not survive if the buildings had Alex' preferred sheer street wall blocking most sunlight.

I like the CCxA design, though I am concerned about some of the tree/plant choices, I'll be interested to see how they perform next season.


From there, Alex goes on to slag Riocan for a less than brilliant activation plan for the retail space thus far; he's not wrong on that; and one can hardly ever go wrong slagging Riocan who are cheapskates who lack an ounce of creativity or imagination in their organization.


This bit needs to be singled out for a couple of reasons:


1) We need a discussion here about the changes the Ford gov't made to development charges and what the impact would be if a similar development were approved today.

2) 1M for affordable housing is slightly less than what the City spent building 2 modular housing units; or if treated as an endowment with operating funds spinning off, the roughly $40,000 per year one could draw down is just shy
of enough to subsidize 2 rent-geared-to-income units.

The above is certainly not a bad thing; but I'm not sure that 2 units out of 1,700 (in effect, as there are no actual affordable units on site) ought to be seen as reasonable.


We later get a reference to Eaton Centre when evaluating the urbanity of the place:


Say what? LOL Zeilder did a great job on Eaton Centre interior, which CF has subsequently molested, but I digress.........

But the exterior facing Yonge was always a colossal fail. CF hasn't improved that any, but TEC's original Yonge facade was as anti-urban as they come.


Next Alex digresses to blast the Reform movement of 1970s Toronto, which gave us the St. Lawrence neighbourhood, and a host of benefits in valuing history, sunlight and context. He derides all this and then Riocan for suggesting the development seeks to 'fit in'.

Whether 'The Well' fully succeeds in fitting in is up for debate; but there is absolutely nothing wrong with that goal. One can absolutely build towers and density, while seeking to create the illusion of more human-scaled architecture while making use of more traditional cladding materials such as brick at street level.

That's exactly what reduces nimbyism and allow for greater density is making the perceived negatives of the density disappear.


Thereafter Alex wanders in thought again to suggest Toronto unduly limits large development to just a few places.............while I have been a leading support of EHON and certainly agree there ought to be higher as-of-right zoning on major streets, including outside the Avenues...............

I always have something of an allergy to hyperbole.

UT does report on some shorter developments, but the vast majority are midrise or hirise.

Lets look at the development map shall we:


Yup, that looks like density is only permitted in 2 or 3 or 4 dozen spaces doesn't it? Hmmm, or maybe it's a couple of hundred spots? Math is a thing.


While I think 'The Well' deserves some plaudits for its more interesting and quality choices architecturally, and CCxA deserves plaudits for Wellington, and I share Alex's allergy to Riocan, and would
love to see more architectural diversity...... I end up feeling the column has a few too many points, some with which I clearly take issue.
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I thought the Globe article was fine. It covered all of the bases, and there were a few things I could quibble with but they were overall minor.

I will say that the article's writing has a high level of annoyance with Toronto as a whole that makes it less enjoyable to read. But I suspect that this is part of being a critic of architecture in Toronto. Christopher Hume was constantly complaining about Toronto, too. It's just not my favourite form of criticism - I'd prefer something which seeks to understand rather than just shoots another volley in a political fight about Toronto's urban fabric.
I read the headline as...

PAYWALL!!! comments on the said.article are a little lost on me. Though am I to presume that the tl,dr is that The Well has lots of issues both architecturally and socially, but it's still doable then?